What do fire and water have in common? Just ask the Ponoka Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee (PPRA). They are the inspiration and energy behind the Centennial Skating Trail and Lighting project. Riffing off a similar project in Edmonton, the idea was to use the resources of the local fire department to create a 500meter skating loop in Centennial Park in Ponoka.
The local county fire department created this ice pathway, first by packing down the snow and creating the base by driving over the route with a water tanker. Then the same water tanker provided 1000 gallons of water creating a 2” – 3 ‘” thick skating surface . . . given of course below freezing temperatures for extended periods of time, which is usually the case in Ponoka.
The county fire department also took over the maintenance, providing snow blowing to keep the pathways clear for skating.
To further complement this unique outdoor skating experience the PPRA collaborated with the
Ponoka County ,the Ponoka Kinettes and community members to fundraise and create an impressive display of lights in the Park around the skating trail. This was enjoyed by hundreds of people during 2018.
The PPRA has also been active increasing the recreational opportunities available in Ponoka throughout the rest of the year through implementing Tarmac Play on school, playground , pathway and other surfaces in 30 different locations throughout the community. Tarmac play refers to stencilling familiar and new games such as Hop scotch, left and right, target and circles on to tarmac surfaces where children play.
In the words of Wes Amendt Director of Community Services
“Since this committee was formed, they have quickly become an influential group in Ponoka and will continue to be key to the ongoing success with all of our future recreation endeavors within the Town of Ponoka. We are looking forward to continuing to work side by side with a group of people so dedicated to growing a healthy and active community.”
. . . Including the ingenuity of using the resources of the fire department and Mother Nature to grow community fun!